So you want to use freelance job sites to make more money and get clients. Awesome!
Maybe you’re just starting out and you don’t have a network yet. Or maybe you’ve been freelancing for a while but don’t have any new referrals or existing clients lined up, so you need some fresh work.
Job sites can be a great place to look. But there are pros and cons.
The reason we like job sites is because the people on there are looking for work to get done right away. They have a need and they know they need it filled. So it’s a great way to fill any gaps in your work schedule if you haven’t got a project for right now.
The reason I don’t like them – it can be hard to stand out. There are often thousands of other freelancers on these sites also looking for work.
If you want to get hired on freelance job sites, you’ve got to find a way to stand out to clients.
There are two main places you can stand out to clients:
- In your proposal
- Your profile
Creating a winning profile and proposal doesn’t need to be complicated. In fact, I’m going to give you one simple rule to follow when creating both:
Potential clients are interested in THEIR NEEDS and THEIR GOALS. Focus on those two things, and your profile and proposals will already be better than 95% of freelancers you’re competing against.
With that rule in mind, let’s get into the details of what to include in each so you can get new clients quickly!
Your Public Profile
Your profile is your chance to quickly communicate to browsing clients why you are worth hiring. Use this space strategically to get the right clients interested.
Your title is the first thing clients will read on Upwork. Most people go with a generic job title, like “Writer” or “Virtual Assistant”. Kinda boring.
If you want to stand out, make your title more compelling by adding some flair. You can use this space to speak directly to your target clients and let them know what’s in it for them.
Consider adding in:
- The niche you serve
- The specific types of projects you do
- The results you generate
- Words like professional or certified
Copywriter for sales pages that convert
Web designer for wellness coaches and entrepreneurs
SEO expert. I help you get more traffic and clients!
In a sea of generic profiles, a simple change can help yours stand out.
Use Relevant Keywords
Your potential clients are using freelance job sites as a search engine. Kinda like Google for freelancers. They’re typing in the keywords they’re looking for – such as “blog writer”, “web designer” or “virtual assistant” – and going through the results that come up.
Knowing this, it’s important to use relevant keywords throughout your profile. If you’re a blog writer, use the words “blog writer”. No one is on UpWork typing in ‘magic wordsmith’, so if you choose that as your title you may not even show up.
Your picture should be professional. Don’t use your old Facebook profile picture and crop your friends out (you’re not fooling anyone, we know that’s someone’s shoulder!).
Use a photo of just yourself, looking professional and welcoming. It will help people put a face to your name and form a more personal connection right away.
Your Bio or Summary
If a client is intrigued by your title and photo, they’ll click to read more. This is where you can really make your case for why someone should hire you.
A mistake a lot of people make in this section is focusing only on themselves (remember that #1 rule?!). Your bio on a freelance site should not be your life story. Just like an about page on your website, it should actually be about your client, not about you.
Use this section to grab the attention of a client. Here’s some ideas to include:
- The results you help people get – ex. I create a Pinterest strategy that brings in new leads to your business on autopilot
- Why you got into your field – ex. I worked in corporate social media marketing for 5 years and have taken that experience to help small businesses and entrepreneurs create a compelling marketing strategy of their own. I love working with people who want to make a difference in the world.
- A glimpse into your work history or what makes you qualified – ex. I’ve created dozens of websites for lifestyle entrepreneurs.
Don’t shower yourself with typical resume-style compliments (detail oriented, reliable, etc). When you talk about yourself this way, it isn’t that believable. Instead, let your work shine through! Show that you’re reliable/experienced/knowledgeable/etc by talking about the work you’ve done.
Portfolio, Past Work, Work History
Some freelance job sites will have profile sections to share your portfolio of past work or your work history. Take advantage of this by showing off your best, most relevant work that you want to be known for.
Include any relevant work or work history. This is your chance to show potential clients how professional and experienced you are.
To wrap up, here’s a few key points to keep in mind when creating your profile:
- Make it exciting
- Use relevant keywords
- Don’t use generic resume phrases like “good time management” or “detail oriented”
- Talk about the results you get for people
- Make it about the client
When you bid on a job posting, your proposal will make or break your chance of getting the client.
Luckily for you, there are a lot of lazy freelancers out there who put almost no effort into their proposal. By getting strategic with your proposal writing you can absolutely stand out to clients!
Read the job posting
This one might seem obvious, but it’s often overlooked.
You want to show the client that you’ve read the job posting by referencing a few points and talking about their needs. Proposals that don’t address anything from the job posting seem like a total copy and paste job, and they usually get deleted instantly.
Using templates for your proposals is a great idea (more on that below!), but you absolutely have to modify it to the job posting so the client knows you’re serious.
Address the client’s needs or goals
Here’s rule #1 again – Potential clients are interested in THEIR NEEDS and THEIR GOALS.
Don’t open your proposal with your name, job title, and years of experience. This isn’t a resume (plus the client can see all of that already!).
Start with a bang by immediately proving you understand what their goals and needs are.
Similar to your profile, you want to demonstrate how you can solve their problems with PROOF by showing your past work, referencing similar projects you’ve done, or sharing a piece of advice.
Link to your website or portfolio
There’s no better way to show your expertise than by showing past work. Link to your website or portfolio in your proposal so the client can take some time to browse through your work.
Have A Template
When it comes down to it, the more you pitch, the more work you’ll get. But looking through gigs on freelance job sites and writing stand out proposals is extremely time consuming.
That’s why it’s so important to have a template handy.
Once you’ve got a great template, you’ll be able to send proposals in a fraction of the time!
And hey, on sites like UpWork, being one of the first to apply for a gig can increase your chances of getting the job.
Every proposal you write should be tailored to the job and the specific client, but having a solid template will ensure you are hitting the right points every time. Your proposal template should be flexible enough that you can use it as a starting point and apply it to most situations. You can even create several variations of your template.
A good proposal template will save you hours and hours when reaching out to potential cilents and bidding on gigs, and can help you stand out from the crowd.
Get the templates you need in The Essential Freelance Pitch Pack – our mini-course and template pack that has everything you need to find and pitch freelance clients.